18 miles, 18 kick-your-ass-3-loops-in-Central-Park miles.
One word. Holy Hard (ok, 2 words).
I love my long runs, I really do. I get excited about the distance knowing that every long run is a distance PR and a new test to my little running existence and another notch in my marathon training belt.
18 miles has meant a lot of things for me: impossible, crazy, something I can't wait to do, something I will never do...you get the picture...so when I completed this feat, I was so elated, even though it was hard as hell and I wanted to quit from pretty early on.
First off, we ran 3 loops of the north end of the park - which means 3 times up Cat and Harlem hills. I love hills, but these hills 3 times almost brought me to tears. Secondly, it was hot and really, really humid. I'm used to the heat as I've been running all summer, so that wasn't too bad. It was the hills that killed me (note to self, must run more hills, ok, any hills at this point!).
I didn't go in with a ton of expectations aside from finishing, but for me the drill is always the same, when I run slow I get a little bummed. My average pace was 10:43, but I tanked at the end. The good news is I didn't run with shit in my pants (which happened to a runner I was with - massive diarrhea, but she placed 2nd) and I just ran the longest I have ever run in my entire life, so I'll take it.